Social media platforms represent a crucial promotional route for any business, but these ‘free’ services still come at a cost. Specifically, they demand significant time investment, with the creation and management of original content to promote a brand and its products or services.
While no automation tool is currently capable of generating engaging and well-written content from scratch, there is already software available to solve many other social media management challenges. These are some of Midphase’s favorite tools, starting with a package whose complexity shouldn’t detract from its brilliance:
#1. Google Analytics.
Many people find GA daunting when they log in, add the tag to their pages and try to assemble a campaign from a blank screen. Even so, distributing content into a void soon becomes inefficient and counterproductive. It’s far better to analyze factors like conversion rates and click-throughs, looking for keyword trends to establish what works (and what doesn’t). Unintuitive menus make Google Analytics the hardest social media management tool to learn, yet it’s also the most powerful.
This flexible tool excels when multiple accounts require supervision at once. Hundreds of different accounts can be added, and even the free package permits dozens of posts to be scheduled in advance. Hootsuite’s interface is neatly split across columns – one for draft messages, another for a calendar, and so forth – making it intuitive for beginners. Plus, there’s an excellent training platform covering the software itself, and the wider social media management industry.
Some of Buffer’s features overlap with those of Hootsuite, although there are enough distinguishing features to make it distinct. An image creator and GIF uploader support visual content, and there’s a mobile apps feature for Android and iOS. Buffer predicts when posts will achieve optimal engagement based on past follower behavior, tracking links to measure the end result. Its interface is clean and easy to use, while the free version should suit small firms – paid plans quickly become expensive.
It doesn’t directly integrate with social platforms, but Trello certainly deserves a place on this list. Why? Because it’s effectively an interactive noteboard and calendar in one, where users can create and share info, links or content. Pinning notes below personalized column headings makes blogging schedules and project management seem simple. Customizable color-coded note tabs instantly identify status or required input, and spreadsheets may be pasted into Trello cards.
#5. Sprout Social.
One of Sprout Social’s biggest draws is its calendar, clearly displaying individual posts and the various platforms they’re going to be published on. Sprout’s detailed reports are downloadable, serving as ready-made progress bulletins when they’re sent to clients or shared among colleagues. Different employees may be given varying levels of permission to modify accounts, while social media analytics identify everything from engagement trends and brand mentions to hashtag analysis.
Though the social media management tools listed above are largely platform-agnostic, TweetDeck is purely focused on Twitter. Then again, Twitter is arguably the most influential social network, even though Facebook has a larger user base. Tweets can be queued across multiple accounts, with a four-column interface monitoring notifications and activity. No wonder this free tool has become a staple item used by marketers and professionals around the world.
Creating original content is vital for any brand, but reposting relevant material also nourishes timelines. Feedly curates third-party content into clear and readable lists, highlighting what it considers to be relevant data based on algorithmic analysis and each story’s popularity. Since rivals like Google Reader have bitten the dust, Feedly is the largest RSS reader on the market. Even free versions segregate content from a hundred sources across three user-generated feeds.
The human touch.
Finally, don’t overlook the importance of maintaining a human face (and voice) across active social accounts. Publishing updates and tracking response rates are unquestionably important, but answering direct messages and firefighting problems shouldn’t be marginalized once automation tools are up and running. Appointing a single person to manage every social platform establishes a standardized tone of voice, promotes a consistent message and prevents inquiries or issues falling through the cracks.
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